Legal spat over parking

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Queenstown Airport faces court action from tenants unhappy they’ve been blocked from providing public carparking.

The tenants are local-based brothers Derek and Maurice Brown, whose company Q A P Limited owns the Ace Rental Cars building by the airport entrance.

In December 2016, Q A P Ltd applied to Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) to change the use of its site into carparking.

The brothers allege QAC had made it hard for them to tenant their building, and were aware it was short of airport terminal parking, causing many people to park around Frankton.

QAC, however, refused consent, arguing their lease is purely for rental vehicle hire and maintenance.

“QAC believes that the requested change in use of the premises would injure and affect its commercial and property interests,” it told Q A P Ltd.

It says the Browns’ carpark would be “in substantial competition” with its own, and could affect vehicle and pedestrian flow and safety.

The Browns’ statement of claim says QAC “unreasonably” withheld consent for public carparking which would “enhance the development of Queenstown Air-port”.

It would also complement airport operations and other users, it argues. Derek Brown estimates they could put about 70 parks on their site.

Rather than compete with QAC, Maurice says “we thought they’d be keen for us to do this”.

“The question is, if they did get the lease [which runs till 2037] back off us, what would they do with the site?”

Without doubt, he believes the airport would use the land for carparking.

Asked to respond to the Browns’ concerns, the airport company’s commercial & cus-tomer experience boss Olivia Pierre says: “Because this matter is before the court, unfortunately it is not appropriate for us to comment at this time.

“The issue involves requests by Q A P to change the contractual use of its lease with QAC, and for sound reasons we have declined.

“Unfortunately, as the matter has not been able to be resolved with Q A P, it will now be up to the court to determine.”

The case is scheduled to be heard in the Dunedin High Court on October 29.

Three days have been set aside.

scoop@scene.co.nz